They always say that horses are the greatest levellers and that I have found out recently is definitely true!
The beginning of the season has started well (although we are probably already mid-way through!) and the younger team members have come on in leaps and bounds.
Both Leo (my young Dartmoor stallion) and Moonie (Moelview Moonstruck) have picked up their open tickets for the RIHS (Royal International Horse Show) which I am really chuffed about and thankfully they have now been joined by Bam (Popsters Glamorize) after a fairly long run of blues.
Luckily my trip up north the day before I went on holiday paid off with her winning a strong class, so she now gets to party with the three boys as Windy also managed to win first time out early on the year — I’m very lucky to have a full house heading to Hickstead for the RIHS.
While the younger members have been behaving themselves, the ‘older’ members have been disgracing themselves!
With one of my best friends getting married on the day of Olympia this year, I have decided to not campaign Jacob in the senior classes, but after Windsor was cancelled last year, I was desperate to take him this year and get a picture of us trotting around the Queen’s garden. So we entered the ridden class, along with 40-odd others — the largest class across the show.
The day didn’t start too well when half way around the M25 I realised the bridle we had on board was the Dartmoor’s instead of Jacob’s. Thankfully when we arrived a quick try on proved it fitted. We weren’t on until around three, so Jacob had a nice graze before getting ready to go up. Heading up to the ring, Jacob was somewhat lively (as always) in the horse walk, but after flicking his toes around the warm-up we were ready to go.
The class was so big with 36 coming forward, they split us for the go round. I went in the second half and then unfortunately ended up near the bottom waiting to do my show and near a mare who seemed quite keen on Jacob. After what seemed like forever, we got to do our show which was fine although a little bouncy and then our in-hand. I didn’t know if we would manage to get placed as with that many lovely ponies and horses, it is always a slight lottery, so it was brilliant when I was called forward into fourth place.
Jacob held himself together while we got our rosette but then as the others were asked to leave, Jacob became Jacob and thought that he really should be going out with the others. When he was shown when he was younger, he could often wind himself up a bit at this stage and he liked the odd rear when numbers began to be called forward as he doesn’t like to be left behind or miss out, but usually they are quite amusing rears and plunges and I just laugh. Not this time!
Before I knew it, Jacob had decided to rear a lot higher than usual and we had the pivotal moment where he wobbled. As he had taken me by surprise, I wasn’t quite in the best position and couldn’t stick his airborne ways and found myself planted on the Queen’s garden! I have never fallen off Jacob in the 10 years I have had him and I have never fallen off at Windsor, so that is both boxes now ticked!
What can you do but laugh? At 19 years old, he still can’t contain his excitement! I guess at least he still enjoys himself. So sadly disgraced we had our rosette removed and had to leave the ring, and most importantly I didn’t get my photo! Maybe we will have to try again next year.
Thankfully my Windsor experience improved with both Bam and Leo finishing fourth and third and I also returned on the Sunday to judge, which was a fabulous day and a real honour. The sun shone and I was privileged enough to have lovely classes to judge alongside my co-judge before getting to watch Nick Skelton and Big Star’s retirement and the supreme of the show. There really is no show like Royal Windsor and this year it certainly was a memorable one!